Song Of The Day 3/3/2015: Nora O'Connor - "Looks Like I'm Up Shit Creek Again"


Actual Country Week: Did you know the phrase “up shit creek” goes back at least 150 years in America? And that the first known mention of the phrase we have on record was on official governmental stationery? And that it was used in reference to who's arguably America’s greatest president?

Yes indeed, according to Shit Creek Paddles, online merchants of the titular novelty oars, who explain it thusly:
This slang phrase [“up shit creek without a paddle”], like most street slang, is difficult to date and determine the origin of precisely. What we can say is that it, or at least the “shit creek” part of it, was known in the USA in the 1860s as it appeared in the transcript of the 1868 annual report of the [US] Secretary of War, in a section that included reports from districts of South Carolina: “Our men have put old [Abraham] Lincoln up shit creek.”

In Lincoln’s day, as now, ‘shit creek’ wasn’t a real place, just a figurative way of describing somewhere unpleasant; somewhere one wouldn’t want to be.

The ‘without a paddle’ ending is just an intensifier, added by later wags for additional effect.
And you prudish, anti-linguist profanity warriors thought LBJ came up with it while dictating to a tailor. It’s old-school patriotic! But you still can’t say it on basic cable. You sons-of-bitches.

This song was written and originally recorded by Tom Waits in the ’70s, although it wasn’t made available to the general public until 1991. Nora O’Connor, our second Chicagoan in a row, recorded this for a Bloodshot Records compilation. If there’s anything more country than being up shit creek I sure ain’t heard of it. If it's good enough for ol' Abe Lincoln, then it's good enough for me, goddammit.

Freeeeee-doooooooom! It ain't just for sanity-divorced actors playin' decapitated Scotsmen with Blue Man Group paint on their faces! It's for YOU and ME!
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